Call to Artists: Harlem Biennale “My Harlem 1.0” Art Commission

Call to Artists

Harlem Biennale is offering an artist commission to create “My Harlem 1.0”, a pilot community-based art project using cellphones. Communicating through images is the predominant language of our time. Cell and smart phones are ubiquitous tools to capture, transmit and share these experiences. Their built-in cameras contribute greatly to the 6 billion images uploaded on Facebook every month – the vast majority by youth. While almost anyone has access to this technology, few have developed the visual literacy to truly create with it.

“My Harlem 1.0” is to be carried out in two phases.

Phase 1 (July-October 2013):

The artist will mediate six 2-hour lectures with field trips for a group of 15 Harlem youth between the ages of 16-21. Participants will produce assignments of photos, audio and video narratives about Harlem, their lives, families and friends. These images and sounds may explore: How does place and community define me?  How do I define this place?  What does this image mean to me?  Why did I choose to share it? What is my relationship to the world around me? In doing so, they will gain the increased ability to communicate in a complex society with the skills and technologies required for today’s demanding new professions.

This phase will culminate with two presentations created by the artist in collaboration with the students, the first at Manhattanville Houses in West Harlem and the second at St. Martin’s Church in Central Harlem.

Phase 2 (January – May 2014):

The artist will transform the archive source material created in Phase 1 into a multimedia exhibition/installation to be shown during the Harlem Biennale and elsewhere. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in this evolution and production of the work. Print materials such as post cards, posters, brochures and a publication, as well as an e-book may be produced around this project.

“My Harlem 1.0” will be sited in Manhattanville Houses, a West Harlem community comprising 6 twenty-story buildings,  1,272 units and almost 3,000 residents. Manhattanville Houses is one of New York City’s 334 public housing developments where 8% of the city’s population resides.

The selected artist has an art practice based in collaboration and social engagement with proven experience teaching/working with youth in the areas of photography, visual literacy and film/video.

Past projects exploring social and digital media, creating and producing projects that engage community while exploring the boundaries and possibilities of contemporary art, are an asset. The artist may also create and manage a website blog/portal for the project.

The artist will be given a $3,000 stipend to complete Phase 1 and oversee the creation of Phase 2. Production assistance and resources will be provided by Harlem Biennale and our partners.


Please send your inquiries and letters of interest to: Ann Fraser,




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